There are many stereotypes about freshmen. There is the infamous “freshman 15,” which haunts many pre-college students to the core and keeps the Rec Center thriving at strange hours of the night. There is the classic freshman who wears nothing but their school’s spirit gear, single-handedly funding college bookstores across the nation. There is the freshman who constantly is lost because they have no idea which signature Hopkins red brick building is the right red brick building. And there is the notorious “freshman plague,” known to attack the weak immune systems of newcomers within the first month of their arrival. Despite the sheer ridiculousness of these stereotypes, I was hyperaware of them and I attempted to avoid them at all costs.

When it came to the freshman 15, I was sure to only have 3 bowls of frosted flakes at late night instead of 17. When it came to aggressively dressing in Hopkins gear, I modestly stopped myself from purchasing an ultra-necessary bucket hat. When it came to getting lost, I gave myself a solid 25 minutes to make a 2 minute walk. And when it came to the freshman plague, I religiously ate my multivitamin gummies, sometimes even eating 3 instead of the serving recommendation of 2. In the first month of school, I thought I did a pretty good job of avoiding every stereotype. That was all until week 6 came around. And with it came the freshman plague, which I now affectionately refer to as Freshmanitis.

While I am still aggressively sniffling as I type this (I am sorry dear person sitting across from me in Brody), I’d like to think of myself as an almost-survivor of Freshmanitis. So to all who are reading this who will ~inevitably~ catch Freshmanitis, I would like to offer you some tips:


  1. Make yourself a First Aid Kit. There is no medicine cabinet here like you had at home where every medicine you needed just magically appeared, so come prepared or make a quick CVS run when you get to campus! 
  2. Treat yourself to a meal at Carma’s. Carma’s is an adorable, funky little cafe that’s about a 10 minute walk from the AMRs. It has hands-down the best grilled cheese on the face of the earth, which, paired with their vanilla mint “Jack Frost” tea and creamy tomato soup soothes the sick soul like no other. 
  3. Don’t be afraid to miss a class. Professors here are super understanding, and would probably rather you stay in bed than infect half of their students anyway. Something really cool about Hopkins is that oftentimes, professors record their lectures (including audio and their Powerpoint slides) on Panopto, which makes it totally doable to “attend lecture” while laying on your bed in your pajamas. 
  4. Take the time you need to recuperate. Don’t rush back into class or activities until you feel better! While it may feel like the end of the world to miss a day of classes, extracurriculars or socialization, I promise that you will thank yourself later for giving your body the rest it needs. Besides, you still have 3 more years to enjoy your time at Hopkins, but you only get Freshmanitis once.


There are many stereotypes about freshmen. These stereotypes, however, are nothing to spend time worrying about before you attend college. You’re going to have days when you get lost among the seemingly identical red brick buildings. You will have days when you eat loads of honey graham ice cream and chocolate chip waffles at the FFC. You’ll find yourself rocking a full-on Hopkins themed outfit one day when you forgot to do your laundry for two weeks. And yes, one day you’re probably going to catch the freshman plague. But what would freshman year be without these days? And if you can take on Freshmanitis like a champ, the rest of college should be a breeze.